That's the one area where I have not actually come down on a clear position. I know that people who are in favour of reform toward an MMP style tend to favour open lists, and I can understand why. It basically says this. Why should you be required to do what the party wants you to do? Why not do what you want to do?
On the other hand, we should also know that parties in their choice of whom to place on a list tend to be bringing in certain priorities—for example, under-represented groups, women, and so on—and those are not irrelevant. In addition, we should also not— and I want to say this carefully—assume that voters really want to be given so much choice. In some cases it will probably discourage them.
Many voters have limited choice. They know which party they like and they can probably also either vote for the local candidate who is from that party or perhaps they have some reason to support a different local candidate. But to assume that they are capable of choosing within a list of people who may not be very local, who may be in part of their region, but the region could be somewhat larger, and to expect them to make that choice, I'm not sure that's entirely desirable.
I don't have a problem with what we call closed lists. That's what they do in the countries that use MMP. Remember, the maximum list size we're talking about now is five or six, because I don't think we want any regional districts with greater than a dozen or 13 total seats. So the number of names coming from the list will never be more than five or six, and we have to remember that. That's the secondary part of the system.
People who've gone to these countries, like Germany, say the real emphasis is on the local MP. That's the one the emphasis is on. Typically, people who are elected from the list, if there's a vacancy in their local districts, will try to get elected in the local district. That's where the emphasis should be. So I do not insist that voters should be able to choose from the names of a regional list, but this is a relatively secondary discussion on which there are good arguments on both sides.